CSR – a step to sustainable development or a distraction from deeper changes

Hi everybody.

I read a very interesting article which is linked to the CSR subject we discussed in our presentation. Today, we concentrated in the discussion on the difference between good and bad CSR. But an important question is, if the implementation of a CSR in a company is a sustainable solution for the problem of the degradation of the environment or only a marketing issue for the company. The article (http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=2693)  discusses this problem. The main statements are the following:

  • CSR would create a unique selling point and therefore a competitive advantage for the company, but if the majority of companies introduces a CSR, there is no competitive advantage for the company any more which would be the reason for the fact that many CSR activities are temporary
  • in general, the competitive advantage that could be gained from CSR activities is limited, because the pool of consumers who base their decisions on ethical critiria is limited
  • Mark Achbar, who made the film “The Corporation” thinks that “Corporations must be forced into sustainability”, which is exactly the point we discussed today at the end of the presentation; it’s the social and legal framework which can encourage (or enforce) changes
  • and this is also the next statement of the article: smaller changes could maybe achieved by the implementation of a CSR, but important changes could only come from changes in the legal framework, changes that concern the power of corporations
  • and the final question which should encourage us to think about the issue is: is CSR a step towards a sustainable development or does it only divert attention from the important and necessary changes??

I think, this question is very interesting and very important. In my opinion CSR is adequate to raise the awareness for environmental issues among companies. Nevertheless, changes in the social and legal framework are mandatory to move to a sustainable development. A growing awareness for environmental issues could create the necessary pressure.

Nina

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Posted in corporate sustainability, greenwash
One comment on “CSR – a step to sustainable development or a distraction from deeper changes
  1. jeremy says:

    Strongly agree Nina … people respond to incentives … and if the government can provide the right incentives by changing price signals through its influence over the socio-legal environment within which business operates, this can produce the desired effect.

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